Claim: A student in a marine biology class turns in a term paper which includes a lavishly-drawn illustration of a whale and receives an A. The next year a different student copies the paper, submits it, and also receives an A. The third student to hand in the same paper, however, neglects to include the drawing of the whale and receives only a B from the professor and his written comment: "I liked it better with the whale."
story is also told about a term paper for a history class that included an intricate line drawing of a ship. The third student to submit the paper felt it was too much of a risk to include the illustration and omitted it, prompting the instructor to note on the paper, "C — where's the picture?"
Origins: This is one of several similar legends involving students who try to slip one over on instructors by submitting someone else's papers (such as Paper Melee and The Old Man and the 'C', only to be caught when the instructors recognize the works. Given that the
instructors in these legends always good-naturedly hand out passing grades to students who are clearly violating university rules against cheating, these tales might be considered more wish fulfillment fantasies (something along the lines of "kind-hearted professor remembers how difficult college was for him and takes pity") than cautionary tales warning against the perils of plagiarism.
Sightings: In an episode of TV's Moesha ("Gimme a Break," original air date 10 April 2000), Dorian gets caught trying to pass of one of Mo's old papers as his own.
David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
Thank you for writing to us! Although we receive hundreds of e-mails every day, we really and truly read them all, and your comments, suggestions, and questions are most welcome. Unfortunately, we can manage to answer only a small fraction of our incoming mail.
Our site covers many of the items currently being plopped into inboxes everywhere, so if you were writing to ask us about something you just received, our search engine can probably help you find the very article you want.
Choose a few key words from the item you're looking for and click here to go to the search engine.
(Searching on whole phrases will often fail to produce matches because the text of many items is quite variable, so picking out one or two key words is the best strategy.)
We do reserve the right to use non-confidential material sent to us via this form on our site, but only after it has been stripped of any information that might identify the sender or any other individuals not party to this communication.